Learning the Norman Layout, Week 3

This is the end of my third week learning the Norman keyboard layout. Learning a new layout is quite a big endeavour, as it changes the way I do almost anything, both at work and at home. How well I learn it determines how efficiently I can go about my daily tasks, and how frustrated I get when I make mistakes that slow me down and get in the way. So how is my typing now, after three weeks of practise?

While the first week was laborious and required a lot of conscious effort to direct my fingers to the right keys, now my fingers have started to develop muscle memory for the new key layout. I still make a few mistakes in each sentence, but for the most part, I can type without thinking so much about where to place my fingers. A few keys that still trip me up are k and j, probably because they require the farthest reach of the index fingers.

My typing speed is now up at 60 to 65 wpm, which helps me to get my work done efficiently enough. With more practise, however, I should be able to get it up to my previous QWERTY speeds of around 80 wpm. And my typing speed in QWERTY? I can barely touch type it on my computer keyboard now, but I still do fine on my touchscreen phone and tablet. It seems that my fingers have developed two different muscle memories—one for physical keyboards and one for touchscreen keyboards. While this may sound strange at first, it really is not unusual. The same phenomenon also happens when I play music. My fingers and hands develop different muscle memories for piano, guitar and oboe, and I am able to switch between them effortlessly. The human body is pretty amazing!


3 thoughts on “Learning the Norman Layout, Week 3

  1. Keita says:

    So how has it been learning the Norman layout? Have can you still switch between qwerty and Norman or is it difficult?

    • I used Norman exclusively on my laptops for about 2.5 months to get my fingers used to the layout (of course, I had to use QWERTY on my iPhone and iPad). Then, one day at work, I had to use a QWERTY keyboard on a server console. It was really challenging at first, and I had to keep looking down at the keys, as if I were learning QWERTY all over again. I struggled with this for a few hours, but the muscle memory for QWERTY slowly came back to me to the point where I could be productive. I was not going at my previous top speed, of course, but it was sufficient to get the job done.

      During those 2 weeks, I had to keep switching between Norman on my laptop and QWERTY on the server. At first, I had to remind myself what layout I was using, but after a bit of practice, I was able to switch between the two comfortably. Of course, it will take a lot more practice to make it totally effortless and to increase my speed on both layouts, but it was easy enough a learning curve for me to get over.

  2. Asme says:

    Ydool, oops, hello, nice post, i’ve started three days ago, and the J and K are the harder to use for me too, along with the comma “,” and C, but it’s getting slowly better. Just like you, I did lot of search before using, any news about your learning process? are you still using Norman layout?

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